Welcome to the Images Through The Door Blog. I started this blog with the thoughts of sharing some thoughts and musings, as well as information and data on upcoming shows, or tips about photography and where I have been lately. I welcome your comments and thoughts. Happy reading!
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I was looking back through some older blog postings, and because of several things that have happened in my professional and personal life recently, this one really hit home. So I thought I would share this again with you, dear readers, in the hope that it might also resonate with you. Have a wonderful weekend!
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Do not resist them - that will only create sorrow. Let reality be reality. Allow things to flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. - Lao Tzu
This year I have been working to grow in my photography work, and one of the ways I am "stretching" myself has been to apply to openings and calls for artists. I know this is a very subjective process, and I hope to gain some insight into my work and how others view it. This week I received notice from one of the calls I had really hoped would happen. The notice was that I was not selected.
I was sad at first, then I started to reframe my thinking. How many other artists had applied, and hoped to be selected, just as I had. Yet there could only be one selection. And the one who was selected - how many times had they likely applied to calls, just as I did, before they were selected?
The truth is that there are different ways to view this moment. One is to allow yourself to become discouraged, to doubt yourself and perhaps even consider giving up on your dream. It's the easy way out. You do not have to put yourself on the line for criticism and rejection. This is the greatest weakness - to give up.
The other way is to look at this and rejoice in the fact that someone - who could be struggling and working just as hard for that chance, that opportunity - received it! How joyous! How affirming! This could be a new beginning, or just the boost needed to propel them forward into great things. Choosing to look at the moment in this way is difficult for us as humans, especially as competitive beings. Yet, it is so much more gentle and supportive - both of yourself and the other hard working artist who was selected. We can hold joy in our hearts for them and for ourselves for taking the step. These times allow us to evaluate ourselves and our work. They urge us onward and upward. They push us to ask - how can I be better, improve, learn and grow. They serve to reinforce that our dream may need more work, and this is not the time to give up!
Giving up on your dream means you don't have to do any of these things or look for an opportunity for learning and growth. Failure or rejection can simply be dismissed and forgotten. But if we do not give up on our dream, if we truly want to learn and grow we must understand it will not always be "our turn". There are many others who are working and working, and might now be the beneficiary of pushing themselves beyond the rejections they have also experienced. As artists, we should rejoice when a fellow artist has been recognized for their art and their work and for following their dream!
Indeed, our lives are a series of changes. We can choose to either embrace the changes, or rail against them, and take them personally in the "world is against me" mentality. As the above saying notes, this will only bring us sorrow. When we understand that life flows naturally, we understand that we are part of a collective of other beings who are also walking their paths, with goals that may be the same as ours. Our moment may not yet be here. These times are our opportunities to take a deeper look, to improve, to push further and become stronger. Nothing breeds success like failure! The desire to achieve, to improve, to go beyond your own imagined limits - these come from our rejections, our mistakes. These are the times when there may be a significant learning waiting for us to see it.
I choose to open my heart to understanding and rejoicing that another artist has been selected, and they did not give up on their dream! I can share in the joy they feel, and the happiness in their heart. I can reaffirm I am not giving up on my dream, and that I will continue on. I close with a quote from a person who knew and lived the meaning of try and try again. It was said that he made perhaps thousands of attempts before achieving success in inventing the incandescent light. So, be happy in your endeavors, and take joy in life, even when you don't get the first place ribbon - your path and your dream may just need a bit more time.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. - Thomas Alva Edison
As many of you know and since I have said this before, I am a complete and total Winter Olympic Games junkie. I love the Winter sports, and especially those that combine both athletic ability and artistry, like freestyle skiing, and figure skating (just don't get me started about the judging) and ice dancing. This year, I found myself totally enjoying the total team commitment and skills of the Canadian women's curling team, who went through the entire rounds without one single loss, culminating in the winning of the gold medal match. It was simply a stunning thing to happen especially given that the very best of the best were playing.
The other wonderful part of these Games this time was the inclusion of both the freestyle skiing half pipe and ski jumping for women. It seems hard to believe that it took this long to get these added for women competitors, especially since there are few winter sports, if any, that are singularly for the male competitors. And we owe the inclusion of both of these to very strong and determined women who were pioneers and champions for these sports. They worked long and tirelessly to convince the Olympic selection committee that these should be part of the events for women as well as men.
One of the women who worked and ultimately gave her life for freestyle skiing to be recognized was Sarah Burke. Sarah was a beacon of hope and spirit in sports, and embodied the true meaning of a leader. She spent time coaching young girls in sport, gave money and worked for charitable and philanthropic events, and was a true trailblazer, a pioneer and an inspiration to thousands of women and men. Sarah fought hard for equality and proved to the world that women deserved a place on the half-pipe and slope style, and the inclusion of these in the 2014 Olympics is owed largely to her efforts to bring the sport to light. She believed you should "dream without fear", and that was how she lived her life. She dreamed big, and believed, and the Sarah Burke Foundation carries forth the torch she lit.
We can learn a lot from people like Sarah. She was always pushing the edge of her sport, and her life, and lived in a way that would inspire others to do the same. There are many examples of people like this in sport, and in everyday life. They are the ones who look beyond what someone might say they can or cannot do, and do not define themselves by "normal" boundaries and rules. They believe in the greater good, the higher standard, and are not afraid to walk the road as trailblazers for those with the courage to follow. Our world is filled with everyday heroes not looking for glory or recognition, rather wishing and working to do the right thing, be a better person, and to dream without fear.
And so, dear friends, can we do the same? Can we DO the kinder act, BE the gentler soul, LIVE not for ourselves, but for others? Yes, I know we can if we think of others first, and think of what great and glorious things we can do not for our own glory, but rather because it gives hope to others who may be struggling, weary, and lost. We can and must be the beacon of hope and encouragement for others because our world today is fragile and tenuous, and hope has become so much more important for so many. So Dream Big, and act on that dream without fear because when your dreams are guided by compassion and love, you too, like Sarah and so many others can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
Namaste, and remembering Sarah,
For more information, please see the Sarah Burke Foundation at www.sarahburkefoundation.org
It's hard to believe that we are already to Valentine's Day, especially given the weather being experienced by much of the United States, (which is why I have an image of flowers to hopefully brighten the day!) but that's what the calendar says. I am sure that the flower shops and candy makers are thrilled at this time of year, but I hold a hope that for all of us, our show of "heart" goes on well past one "designated" day on the calendar.
I always look for little things to inspire me when I write this blog, and have found many things that give me "heart" as I have been watching the Olympic Winter Games. Yes, I do admit that I am a total Olympic junkie, so let's just go on. I am lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest close enough to the Canadian border that I get the Canadian television broadcast on my cable. They do a wonderful job of covering all the Olympic events, not just the ones that they have "big" stars competing - unlike what the American networks seem to do. They also focus on stories that have special meaning, like the freestyle skier who gets inspiration from his brother who suffers from cerebral palsy, or the sisters who compete together on the slopes. It's a little bit of understanding that even these hard working athletes can wear their hearts on their uniforms.
I think, though, my favorite story so far has been during one of the cross country skiing races, where a competitor fell and had a horrible crash on one of the more challenging turns. He was not in contention for a medal, but got up showing his determination to finish the race. He had a horribly broken ski, and even given that, you could see he was willing himself to go on. It seemed that no one was coming to his aid when suddenly, a coach for the Canadians (who is from the US), ran out and without even a word, took off the broken ski and replaced it with one he had with him for his team. The competitor went on to complete the race, and at the finish, you could see his gratitude and joy at being there - all due to the generosity of one person.
As it turned out, the coach was just there to watch the event as no one from the Canadian team had made the cut, but he still had some equipment with him. He said he could not think of anything else but to help this athlete, and to give him the chance to complete the event. This is the true spirit of competition, and of leading with your heart.
We each have opportunities - daily - that we can lead with our heart, show our spirit, and give to another. We just need to open our eyes, broaden our horizons and see past our own selves and understand that we can make a difference. We can offer a hand to someone who might be struggling, or a touch of a warm hard for someone in need. It's easy, once you look for ways to open your heart, and feel the warmth that giving of yourself brings.
Make every day a day of heart - not just the one on the calendar. You, and those around you, will benefit when you lead with your heart. Life will open to you in new and wonderful ways as we all have so many gifts to share. We can show our true loving spirit, and heartfelt love, and for doing that, dear friends, you will always receive a gold medal.
Here we are, nearly into February already! It seems that we were just recently talking about New Year's resolutions, but there you go. Some of us are preparing for the Super Bowl, have already seen the first of many awards shows, and also have the 2014 Winter Olympics on the horizon. It feels like we are surrounded by stars - musicians, and athletes. Many of us may hold a secret desire that we could have been - or wish to be - one of "them". Yes, with talent and determination and hard work and even the right luck, a few people reach that elusive point. For the vast majority, though, we are just the "average Joe".
But is there anything wrong with that?
The world runs by those who are the steady, ready and willing. Each of us has our own special talent to give and to share, whether it be in business, education, labor, healthcare, retail, or whatever your present vocation. We should be proud of that, and more importantly, recognize that our skills are unique and special. Plus, your own personal gift may be something that does not even have anything to do with your profession. You might never be a famous television chef, but you can work and hone your talents to delight your family and friends. You might have a good singing voice - one that would be well appreciated in your local chorus or choir. Perhaps you love working to teach a sport - you can put that to great use as a volunteer for a club or league. All you need is desire, passion for what you love, a giving heart, and a goal to be the best person you can be. That's my definition of a star.
Giving is such a wonderful thing. As time passes, people will not remember us for the material things we might have provided or given, but rather the feeling that every person who comes into our life is cherished and honored by us. This is how we become our own star - by shining our light out to others, by opening our hearts to care, and by helping even in small ways our fellow beings.
So, as you watch the next award or event show, understand the work and time that these immensely talented people have put in, but do not envy them their fame. You are the real star - of your own life! And that, my friends, is more important that anything else. YOU can make a difference, every day. Be the light in the darkness, and shine on, dear ones, shine on!